Men’s squash wins first Jesters Squash Championship

Gaels host OUA Championship this week

The men’s squash team posing with the Jester Squash Championship banner.
The men’s squash team posing with the Jester Squash Championship banner. 
Credit: 
Supplied by Shawn MacDonald

Following their first-place finish at the Jesters Squash Championships in Toronto last weekend, the men’s squash team is going into Friday’s OUA Championships on a high note. 

Over the course of the weekend, the team was led by standout performances from Spencer Lee, William Atteck and team captain Cameron Boyle — each of whom went undefeated. Euan Hannigan also secured a crucial victory in his match against McMaster. His win propelled the Gaels to the finals and eventually, the program’s first ever tournament win. 

Subsequent to their 4-3 victory over McMaster in the semi-finals, the men’s team faced U of T for the gold medal. 

“Our goal was just to do our best in the finals,” Hannigan said. Prior to facing off against the Varsity Blues, Hannigan said the team expected to face off against the Western Mustangs for the championship.

Gaels head coach Eugene Zaremba echoed Hannigan’s expectations. In an email to The Journal, he said his team “w[as] fairly confident of medaling, but certainly w[asn’t] expecting to win.”

According to Zaremba, U of T’s unexpected victory against the Mustang’s initially “concerned [him], especially after having lost to Toronto 5-2 the last time we met.”

But following seven tense matches, the Gaels came away with a 4-3 victory. It clinched the men’s program their first Jester Squash Championship.

“We were extremely excited to win,” Hannigan said, reflecting on their success a few days after the tournament. “It’s the first time we’ve won the Jesters Squash Championship since its inception [in 2009].”

Meanwhile, the 13-time OUA Champion women’s squash team came up just short at the Jester Squash Championship. After narrowly losing to U of T, the Gaels finished in second. 

Coming off an undefeated fall semester and an impressive start to their winter season, the women’s team had high hopes for themselves at Toronto.

“We came [into] the season with great expectations,” team captain Alysha Anzik said. “So last weekend was a little bit of a humbling experience for us.”

The women’s team started strong with their 6-1 victory against Brock in the semi-finals. Unfortunately in the finals against U of T, things didn’t fall in the Gaels’ favour. 

“[It] could have gone either way,” Aznik said of the Gaels’ 4-3 loss to U of T. 

Although Anzik said the team had strong performances from Jenna Dhanani and Nora Abdelrahman Ibrahim, the captain said the team’s second-place finish gives the Gaels a chance to reevaluate their strategy before they host the OUA Championships at home this weekend.

“I think going into this next tournament, there will be a different focus of solidifying the group across the board, rather than just having a few top players,” she said, alluding to the upcoming OUA Championships which the team won last season.

Ironically, the women’s team’s loss in the finals may have been the motivation the men’s team needed to win their own.

“Right before our final match, the girls lost their finals, so we knew we had to really perform and bring home a title for Queen’s,” Hannigan said. He also believes the championship outcome has large implications for men’s squash on campus. 

“I think the win for Queen’s definitely puts our name out there,” Hannigan added. “And [it] will hopefully attract new players to actually consider coming to play squash [here].” 

Both teams are back in action this coming weekend when they host the OUA Championships at the ARC.

 

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